Monday, June 3, 2013

How much does it really cost to self-publish?

In today's world, most writers have at least flirted with the idea of self-publishing. Among the many advantages that are often cited by proponents of self-publishing in ebook form is of course the relatively low price when compared with hard-copy formats. At first glance, it does seem that ebook publishing should be an extremely 'cost-effective' means of getting an unsigned author's work in the public domain. However a number of articles on this topic challenge this view.

For example, Miral Sattar's post The Real Costs of Self-Publishing a Book gives a reasonably detailed and possibly surprising breakdown of the costs of publishing a high-quality book. Even if costs associated with hard-copy items (such as printing) are eliminated, the typical author is looking at a minimum investment of approximately $3,000 dollars according to Sattar. These expenses include developmental editing and copyediting, along with cover design and formatting.

Of course, just about all of these expenses can be avoided if the author simply chooses to do all of these tasks themselves. However in that case they're obviously running the risk of ending up with a less polished and possibly amateurish finished product.

How do you feel about the expenses listed above? Do you generally invest in professional editing and design services or do all of the work yourself? Let me know in the comments below.

P.S. If you are interested in reading an established author's view on self-publishing there is a reasonably informative Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) by Angela S. Stone here.